David Report issue 9/April 2008 I shop therefore I am YOUR PATHFINDER INTO THE FUTURE
”In the future luxury goodswill be methods that bringus back the power of ourown attention: the powerto choose ourselves whatwe want to notice or not.And there lies the trueluxury of the future, to beable to resist shoppingand still be happy.”Sante Poromaa
Our keynoteForeword To clear out and throw things away can create new, posi- tive energy. Sean Penn’s new film “Into the wild” is aboutToday more and more people question the current con- a person who goes away into the wilderness as a protestsumption hysteria. It is clear that everything is getting against materialism and social hypocrisy and as a waycheaper - seen to production. At the same time we can to find insight and an existential truth. Perhaps it is notsee consumption in future super powers such as Brazil, necessary to go that far, but maybe it’s time to divide ourIndia and China veritably exploding. The consumption of consumption into good and bad consumption?the growing middle class. And what is so strange aboutthat? Nothing at all, it is perfectly normal as those deve- It would be simplistic to think that we can discard con-loping countries today has access to the same, interna- sumption completely. But we do have the opportunity to,tional view of the world as everyone else - a world full of through our consumption and our choices, create a betterproducts and services. world (one mustn’t forget that the power of the consumer is enormous). It is all about WHAT we buy and WHAT weEverything in our society is based upon the idea that con- choose to invest in, the world we live in will be the resultsumption should be as easy as possible. ...”money makes of those choices. There is a difference between shoppingthe world go round...”. We take instantaneous loans via our and shopping. There’s both cool and uncool consumption.cellphones and not many minutes of our lives passes bywithout some kind of commercial message. The mes- One can also put an ethical value in consumption. Is itsage is that we become happy buy buying, buying, buying. right to consume as a hobby when 800 million people goOften we even consume just for the sake of consuming. to bed hungry? As you see in this issue of David ReportAs leisure and a way to pass time. Unfortunately our con- we want to highlight consumption from different point ofsumption participates in filling our refuse dumps as well views; both ethical, social, political, economical and huma-as polluting and using up resources. Things, stuff, gad- nistic. Consumption is not black or white even though it’sgets, widgets, devices; our homes and our lives are more often debated is if it is. Each and every person of coursethan full. Up until now it has not been an exaggeration to has the right to satisfy his or her basal needs such as nu-say “the one who has the most things when he dies wins”. tritious food and a roof over their head. That is fundamen- tal justice and equality for everyone on planet earth. ButBut the power of consumption is being questioned and then what? Are there moral aspects as well that needs tothere’s a change in attitude and way of life. A suitable ex- be taken into consideration? Follow us!pression for the future could be “the one with most insightwhen he dies wins”. Many are realizing that the power ofconsumption is stopping us from finding true and sincerehappiness; and that shopping often works as a substitutefor something that we’re missing in life. Illustration by Martin Sandström
What is consumption then?The word ”consume” often has a negative and fleetingconnotation and the digital encyclopaedia Dictionary.comdescribes it as ”use up, to spend wastefully, to destroy”.Thus the opposite of consumption would be to create,save, make and build.To only assess consumption from encyclopaedias or op-posites is therefore incorrect, because it would show onlyits negative sides. Or what about the current happeningswith the American bank Bear Stearn and its collapse thisspring, due to risky lendings to consumption; ”use up, tospend wastefully, to destroy”...But to consume is at the same time something positive.We consume restaurant visits, theatre shows, travels,education and so forth. Many enriching and life enhancingexperiences springs from consumption. To use the worddestroy about a wonderful travel, a magical concert or auniversity degree would be quite wrong.Consumption is quite simply both positive AND negative,from different aspects.
Our consumption cocktail (stirred, not shaken)Production behind consumptionBehind consumption there is production. Who runs and “I have always believed that one of the tools of indi-who is run? Are companies speeding up development vidual empowerment given each and everyone of ustowards creating a global sustainable society populated upon birth or immigration into an economically liberalby happy people, or do they just want us to exchange our democratic society is the power of the political vote, butbelongings in a faster rate so they’ll make more money? equally important is the power of the ‘economic vote’.Consumption is needed to keep companies alive. Con- Each and every dollar (or euro or whatever) we spendsumption is also needed to keep our earth alive. To be- on a product or service is a vote for (or against) thelieve anything else is naive. The pattern of our consump- process, quality, belief system or form of what we buy.tion is however changing. Many people think twice before Every dollar we spend is a vote - you use what you buyaccepting the companies invites. The carefully made up to empower what you believe in!”aura that each company wants to surround themselves This free will comes with a responsibility and an obli-with is slowly fading. We, the consumers, don’t believe in gation, that goes for both consumers and producers.the messages anymore, we are questioning their dream In an ideal world the teamwork between the two goesworlds and we’re turning anti-brand and anti-logo. We’re smoothly. Today however we must unfortunately say thatlooking for something more, something authentic and companies often lack knowledge of the market, the sur-real. We want transparency. We want relations with aware rounding world and of the future. More of them must putproducers. energy into this. In many cases they also lack knowledge of strategical and tactic design decisions. This is notHerein lies a new chance for companies to win market good as companies to a large degree affect our choicesshares. Perhaps through a new form of social responsibi- and our consumption. Many are unfortunately also blasélity, by being more sustainable and socially conscious than and choose simple, short term profitable ways. They arewhat companies in general have been before? Qualities simply not able go all the way. Because smart design andthat slowly are growing into hygiene factors. The chal- innovation doesn’t come easily. It takes time. It takes a biglenge is for companies to keep up if they’re to survive inthe future. But we’re not talking about idealism. The com- and serious effort to develop products that actually canpanies are offered a chance to capitalize from peoples change our world. But mass produce crap products couldwishes to do the right thing and conceptualize sustaina- any deadpan do....bility and social responsibility and use it as ”competitiveweapons”. It is first when companies see the opportunityto make money that real change will be made - that’s thename of the game.If we as consumers demand better products (and awareproducers) we will get it, sooner or later. In our marketruled world changes are made fast if they concern con-sumption patterns. No matter if it’s a pro-social entrepre-neurship or strictly a business initiative we have only seenthe beginning of this development.Conscious consumptionThe relation between producers and consumers isimportant when consumerism is discussed. The “poor”consumers are often portrayed as victims in relation tothe exploiting companies. We are however all equippedwith a free will and we all contribute. No one is reallymore of a victim than anyone else. Therefor our choicesare important.The architect and designer Tim Power has described thepower our money provides us with like this;
Makeover consumptionWhen the outside world feels unsafe our home becomes We on David Report grew up in the seventies, a very po-the safe haven we all seek, miss and need. To decorate litical decade. The influence of fashion was debated andour home therefor becomes more and more important strongly questioned. In an exhibition called “The fashionto a growing group of people. It is no longer just a small carousel” from 1976, this comparison was made betweencrowd of people who put time and money into their ho- fashion and interior design; “imagine if...we threw out allmes, today “everyone” is interested in interior design. We of our furniture and bought new each year just becausediscuss sofas, curtains and cushions in staff rooms and the old ones were out of fashion”. This was a dystopiaat dinner parties. We paint, change lighting and put zesty thirty years ago but now we’ve reached that point! In thedesign objects on our windowsills. seventies the consumption hysteria had not yet come into our homes.On David Report we’re getting tired and bored of inte-rior magazines and their reportage’s on identical homes. Is this constant change of colours and furnishings a newHow much styling can a home take? How many times middle class phenomena or could it even be a new phe-should one exchange the furniture, the colour of the walls nomena of the working class?and wallpaper before one is satisfied and at peace? It is That is perhaps a provocative statement but we would likean enormous restlessness that is exposed here. A race to state that we see the contours of a new class systemwhere the mass medial hunt for the latest new product where the privileged and well off buy environmentally(just for the sake of being new) drives consumers to buy friendly, durable and regionally produced goods while yournew. Is it when it comes down to it a meaningless hunt average Joe is busy with lavish and irresponsible spen-for the newest thing, a race that in the long run has no ding on goods “made in China”.winner? Do we really need another chair? One thing is High prices and inaccessibility are probably partly thecertain, we’re living in a true makeover culture. reasons to this. It is a true challenge for producers to to make sustainableUnfortunately this new interest for interior design isn’t design, furnishings, food and fashion inclusive as opposedalways very responsible. Our homes are filled with things to exclusive, as it is today.that we do not really need. We are restless and buy more We should all do our best and be a part in the processand more cheap products of bad quality. Things with a of turning this negative spiral of todays wear and tearshort life span, both in design and material. society around.At the same time we throw away functioning things.Whatever happened to container finds and thrift stores?Products that could be given a new life and in that waysave resources. The designer Satyendra Pakhale nailsthe problem when he says; “we can’t afford to buy cheapthings”.In an attempt to be considered trendy and hip people con-stantly turn to new, short lived trends. Unfortunately thatdoes not signal awareness but the complete opposite.“Over consumption is no longer a sign of success” asChris Sanderson of Future Laboratory in London recentlycommented the current consumption hysteria. We agree.Some quick calls proved that many of the friends of DavidReport no longer feel satisfied by big cars, flashy watchesor a constantly new wardrobe. Because it gives the wrongsignals. We don’t want to be consuming goofs, we wantto be considered aware and responsible. The group forceis hence an important ingredient in our choices regardingshopping. The traditional device of our consumption so-ciety “more is always better”, which tells us we can neverbe happy or satisfied is, to some people, changing into amore aware thought - “less is more”.
Every generation laughsat the old fashions, butfollows religiously thenew. Henry David Thoreau
Our interviewThe work of Mathilda Tham include trend forecasting,fashion and sustainable issues. Mathilda has also beenworking with design, pr and marketing. Mathilda Thamworks as professor at Beckmans college of design inStockholm and teaches about eco-design at Goldsmithcollege in England.How many pieces of clothing that we never usehang in our wardrobes?Only about 40% of the clothes in our wardrobes are ’ac-tive’ - the rest are not in useYou have been talking about a “subscription ser-vice”, is it a possible solution to the problem withspontaneous shopping?A subscription service cater to our desire for fast fashion, Mathilda Thaminstead of buying for example a party top that will only beworn one or two nights out, we could rent it. The environ-mental gain from this would be less material in circulation,and energy and water savings as all clothes could be bulkwashed instead of washed by individuals at home. Thefashion company would make money on a service insteadof a product and the user could enjoy fast fashion with a Could it be that it is sometimes a waste of resour-good conscience ce to create fashion/clothes of high quality when we’ll only use it shortly anyway?How come clothes shopping is often portrayed as Durability is an often favoured environmental strategy, ho-especially sinful? wever, in the case of for example fashion clothes - whichFashion epitomises general tendencies in society - such are not discarded because they they no longer work in aas our bulimic relationship to objects, and disassociation material sense, appropriate rather than long lifetimes isfrom the reality of people making our products, and the better to strive for.natural habitat. Yet fashion is not only ’bad’. Fashion offers For example, if a top is only going to be worn for a couplea highly creative means of expression, and a means for of times before it ends up in a bin somewhere, producingmaking a living for millions of people. it from fine organic cotton is a waste. Instead it is wiser to use resources that may be slightly inferior in quality, butAs a consumer what should one do if one wants to are already in the loop.shop clothes in awareness?More sustainable fashion choices include choosing Is there a difference between the terms fashionorganic cotton, buying second hand clothes, only buying and clothes?favourite clothes and washing less. Fashion and clothes are different, although they often coincide. Clothes operate on a material level - to keep usWhich road should the fashion industry take; try- warm, and shelter us against wind and sun. Fashion ope-ing to make existing materials more sustainable rates on a symbolical level - we use it to communicate, to(such as organic cotton) or invent completely new, express individuality or group belonging. When we discardsynthetical materials? a fashion item, it is not because it is threadbare, but be-The fashion industry needs to address environmental cause it has ceased to communicate what we want it to.issues at both product and systems levels. In terms ofproducts, the conversion from convention to organic We seek inner satisfaction through outer objects.cotton is one major change, however keeping synthetic Is this statement true also for clothes? What is itmaterials in the loop, such as recycling PETbottles into that we’re looking for?fleece is also important. Additionally, we need to look at Fashion works on several levels. Through the use ofnew, resource efficient, renewable and biodegradable fashion we seek novelty, a sense of belonging to a parti-materials - corn starch, soy protein. cular group, or to differentiate ourselves.
Psychological/sociological consumptionAs we mentioned in the introduction text shopping seemsto function more and more as a substitute for somethingthat we lack in life. Is it happiness? Because in that casewe must ask ourselves if it’s possible to buy happiness;does material things make us happy?No, there are no studies that shows that. Consumptiondoes not contribute to a higher standard of life. The For many consumption becomes an addiction. Thereforequestion is if only a good economy and a high material it is important to give oneself time to reflect upon onesstandard of life has made anyone happy? Possibly it com- life. To not forget that there is something even moreforts briefly and gives a higher sense of self or relief from important. Something bigger. To be able to do the thingsanxiety, like an expensive drug. you love and are passionate about; to spend time with the family, to have the opportunity to be by yourself (howA classical psychological symptom is also reflected in our often does that happen?), to enjoy nature, eat and drinkshopping, humans are group animals and will do anything well in the company of good friends, enjoy art and poetry.to stay in their group. To be excluded means death and Everything is of course individual but the common factorto avoid being excluded people do what all other people of all these things is TIME. This fleeting object that mostare doing, in this case shop! Don’t be different, look like people feel they have too little of. The possibility to beeveryone else, do like everyone else etc. This is especi- in the present, to find balance and harmony. Appreciateally difficult in Scandinavia where we have Jante (http:// what we have and not feel pressured to constantly striveen.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jante_Law) on one shoulder and for something new.Luther (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther) onour other. The ones of us here on earth fortunate enough not having to worry about surviving can instead focus on living, andDalai Lama means that we need an inner peace before then take it one step further and start experiencing. Whatwe can be happy about outer assets and conditions. This is to each and everyone to decide for themselves.also means that if one has this inner quality one has theability to live happily even without many of the things that, Our contributor Sante Poromaa, teacher at the Zenbudd-according to some, are the traditional conditions for hap- hist Society in Stockholm has some interesting view onpiness; big cars, bling and branded clothing. this on the following pages.
Our Zen-Buddhist friend says:By Sante Poromaa, teacher at the Zenbuddhist Societyin Stockholm.To enjoy what you are doingHedonism is the answer to the question how to live life“to it’s fullest degree”, to search for pleasure and avoiddiscomfort. To do only what pleases us and in that wayfill our lives with maximal pleasure. Hedonism today livesas the ruling religion in our secularised societies. Just asbefore hedonists today seek to shape their life and spendtheir time so that each moment will be as comfortable,pleasurable and joyful as possible. Since we no longerbelieve in higher powers and a predetermined world thereis not much left but to enjoy each moment as if it was thelast. “After us the Deluge!”But the difference between the hedonist of the past andthose of today is worth to reflect upon. The image of a he-donist in ancient Greece is perhaps the one of a person,laying on a daybed, sipping a good wine and listening todivine music. The hedonist of today however, has not timefor that. He’s rushing ahead in a fast car, listening to hisMP3 player while talking on his cellphone.Today we’ve convinced ourselves that the more we canfit into the moment, the more meaningful it becomes. Oursimultaneous capacity is stretched to it’s fullest and in ourinner sphere numerous different voices now live, fightingfor space. We want to do so much, see so many things,live so much more. SMS, MMS, Java and Bluetooth. DVDand MP4. They’re all fighting for a place in our innersphere, now known as MySpace.com. Our inner sphere,the place where we are free and present, lucid and atten-tive has been occupied by demons fighting a war for ourattention. Most of these demons come from the specialhell known as the Market. Sante PoromaaThe truth is that modern life demands a lot more fromus than we have time for. The only solution is to do manythings at once, to pay attention to many different voices atthe same time. The effect of this “multitasking” is a sense At the same time this extreme disruption has had anotherof disharmony, or what the writer Saul Bellow described effect as well. It has made us bored. We can’t stand longas “an unbearable state of distraction”. This state of pieces of music anymore but prefer “classical favouritesdisharmony is perhaps the most distinguishing feature of in short version”. While watching films from the fiftiesour time. and sixties we feel an almost subconscious urge toThe feeling of having too many forces fighting for our fast forward through the “dead time”. Impatience and aattention and demanding something of us is causing disability to do nothing is the result. We all, compared tomore and more of us to live with a constant feeling of not older generations, suffer from attention disorders. In other“having enough time”. As if everything was going faster words we have become addicted to our own simultaneousand faster. The paradoxical effect of trying to fit more life capacity and constantly demand new impressions, just asinto each moment is that we never seem to be quite in it a junkie needs his fix. In the fifties, before television, anourselves, the moment we want to enjoy is the place and entire family could sit at home and listen to the radio. Justtime where we are not. “Life is what happens while ma- listen. Without cleaning or talking on the phone or playking other plans” John Lennon sang. Life goes on while video games at the same time. Just sit silently and listen.we are someplace else. Shinkansen railway in Japan
Nowadays we rarely give something our full attention.We may give the radio twenty or thirty percent, hardlymore. It is more and more common that we call so-meone to talk and hear how the person on the other lineis simultaneously tapping on their keyboard, perhapsanswering mails or just surfing. Radio producers todayare of course aware of this disharmony and no longercommunicate with us as adults, intelligent and indepen-dent individuals. Instead they’re fooling around and be-ing silly, preferably as loud as possible since they knowthat that is the only way to catch at least a fragment ofour attention.Conclusively one can say that our modern hedonism andshopping frenzy has given our lives, not more life, butthese side effects: we have become disharmonious andstressed. We have lost touch with our inner clarity. Wehave lost our ability to concentrate and are easily bored.We’re practically never completely present. And thethings that are supposed to entertain and feed our minds- books, theatre, music, movies have become shallowerand louder, less serious. The finer shades of life hasbeen lost. Our inner, mental room has been sold to themarket forces. The consumption demons runs our lives.We are the losers.Zen masters have a completely different idea of how tolive life. In Zen we admit that the moment is all we have.To a Zen master the present isn’t a piece of time in bet-ween the past and the future - there to be filled with asmany “experiences” as possible. It is instead “an eternalspring”, an infinite place outside of what we call time andspace.Release from sufferance and dissatisfaction is, accor-ding to this ancient wisdom, about learning how to liveconsciously. To live consciously is to live now. Not byfilling the moment with more but by being completelypresent. Not to constantly divide our minds and chaseafter only that which gives us pleasure, but learning howto find pleasure in what one does. In the future it is the-refor likely that more and more people willingly will giveup shopping. Choose to live simple, or at least avoid theexcess. Not because of an ascetic wish for self-sufferan-ce, but from realising that happiness cannot be bought.
Our consumption anecdote by Heinrich Böll: An American businessman was standing at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were seve-Decreased consumption ral large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.An international movement about Downshifting (in the US “How long it took you to catch them?” The Americanalso known as Voluntary Simplicity) is growing rapidly. It asked.is about taking control over one’s life and not followingthe stream. Freedom. Decrease consumption, work less “Only a little while.” The Mexican replied.and have more leisure time - about not detouring throughmoney to live a happy life. Inner peace and fulfilment over “Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”wealth, status and power. The trend expert Faith Popcorn The American then asked.describes this trend like this; “It’s not about coping out,or dropping out or selling out. It’s cashing in the career “I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs.”chips you’ve stacked up all these years and going so- The Mexican said.mewhere else to work at something you want to do, theway you want to do it”. “But,” The American then asked, “What do you do with the rest of your time?”The five core values of Downshifting are: economicalawareness, material simplicity, self sufficiency, small- The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little,scaliness and personal development. In other words they play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria,are quite similar to the values of the Slow Food and Slow stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine andCity movements. On David Report we try as far as pos- play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life,sible to choose the smart life. To be able to stroll down to senor.”the ocean and dip our toes in the water when we feel likeit. Or to cut the roses in the garden. Spend time with our The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and couldchildren every day instead of keeping them in kindergar- help you. You should spend more time fishing and withten. Dare to move away from the current norm. Dare to go the proceeds you buy a bigger boat, and with the pro-our own way, based on our own philosophies. Life is far ceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats,too short to be wasted. It is really just a question of taking eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”control over our situation. To be aware of how we live.Simple to say, more difficult to live by... “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening yourThe Downshifting-movement does not tell us we should own can factory. You would control the product, proces-stop consuming all together, that would be like stop eating sing and distribution. You would need to leave this smallwhile on a diet, you couldn’t survive. But perhaps it’s pos- coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LAsible to share the car and the lawn mower with the neigh- and eventually NYC where you will run your expandingbour. Or perhaps even borrow things from each other and enterprise.”at the same time gain a social contact. We mustn’t forgetthat besides from costing money consumption also steals The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long willtime. The average American spends six hours per week this all take?”shopping. On top of this material managing is anotherside effect of our consumption. To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”In Sweden parents that live together has increased their “But what then, senor?”income with approximately thirty percent over the lastthirteen years, inflation disregarded. Hence we could, if The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part.we went back to the standard of life we had in 1995, have When the time is right you would announce an IPO (Ini-thirty percent more leisure time, in principle. tial Public Offering) and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”The Downshifting-movement is sometimes criticised forbeing elitist as many of its followers are well educated “Millions, senor? Then what?”middle class people. You have probably read articlesabout people quitting top jobs in the business world The American said slowly, “Then you would retire. Movebecause they feel they’ve lost control of their lives. But it to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleepcan also be as simple as choosing to work from home ins- late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta withtead of from nine to five in an office. Life is about making your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where youchoices, aware economy or shop til you drop? could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos…”
Future consumptionThe goal is not the most important thing, it’s the me- Perhaps we shall also buy fewer but better products, aimans to get to it. We shall not quit consuming, but begin for quality (both in material and design)? True sustai-to consume in a new, more aware fashion. To take nability is achieved first when we keep the things thatresponsibility through shopping is the way to do it. we buy. It could because we’ve become emotionallyRegardless if we base our decisions on intellectual or connected to them, because they’re special and has asentimental values how we consume will clearly state special meaning to us or because we saved up to bewhich social class we belong to. Today we can detect able to buy them, or perhaps even that they were difficulta similar change in our consumption patterns as we’ve to get by. If we still want to get rid of them it is importantearlier seen with smoking (remember the glamour that that the products can be given away or put back on thesurrounded smoking just a few decades ago) or over- market, preferably unaltered to save material and energy.weight (half a century ago it was a sign of success to be Defenders of consumption are however not the leastfat - the picture of an overweight director). worried about the social and environmental problems caused by our consumption. Their motivation being thatIn the future consumption will be more about experienc- innovation and new technical solutions will save us.es and services than things. What do you think?There is always a stop somewhere, the strong gene-ration of the forties, with a big purchasing power, who As thinking individuals we also have a responsibility tohad nothing as children and grew up in a constantly make sure the people who produce the goods we buyascending conjuncture and hence could buy everything! are paid properly, and that they live in an environment notThey are decreasing. This generation and earlier are/ destroyed by the production. Today people love pricewere very possessive and materialistic. Today the world hunting. But we nee to think twice before buying a threelooks very different. The importance of owning is slowly euro t-shirt in a low price store. A product that cheapturning into the importance of experiencing. It may be cannot be produced in a way that is okay. And whatlooked upon as an escape from a turbulent world (pos- does the notion cheap mean? The thing that at the mo-sessions can be lost but memories are for ever) as well ment can be obtained for a small amount of money mayas the natural order. There is always a reaction to an very well turn out to be very expensive, in the long run.action. And the action of that generation was buying, Both because of it’s effect on the environment and yourowning, buying, owning… wallet, as you will have to buy it again and again. That is the reason to why it’s often better to aspire to buy pro-Traditional luxury consumption, as we define it now, ducts that are priceworthy, instead of just cheap ones.will not provide the same status in the future as it does Yvonne McArthur describes her thoughts about this intoday. If one seeks attention money is better spent (if you her blog; “The more I knew about the consequences ofnecessarily need to spend them) on something useful. our rampant consumerism and global economic expan-Something that will benefit many people. Perhaps in the sion, the more it made me feel totally insignificant andfuture giving will be more important than having. Are the completely overwhelmed. How could I, as an individual,companies, who survive on our consumption, prepared make a difference?”for this transition?
“Life is what happenswhile making otherplans”John Lennon
Our strategist friend says:Kristina Dryza is a trend forecaster whose exposure toglobal consumer trends and cultural knowledge leads herto bring the experiential and forward looking aspects ofdesign to the projects. She recently started KRLT studio,a conceptual design studio based in Vilnius, Lithuania.The first products from the studio is a luxury fashion col-lection based on the regional heritage.The best lifestyle accessory:mindful presenceSometimes with our purchases we seek fulfillment, othertimes authenticity, and at other moments, knowledge.When we’re in pure acquisition mode it’s just about ‘get-ting the stuff’. Dependent on our mood whilst consuming,we can be in an authoritative state and so demand provenand recognised sources and services, or we can be in ameditative state, and so want our purchases to bring usgreater emotional wellbeing.More and more consumers are becoming increasinglyinquisitive with their purchasing power and are demandingto know the provenance of products. Today, a silent ques-tion of ‘what is the process of this product having comebefore me?’ is very common. These inquisitive consumershave such a strong comparative awareness, so are alwaysdemanding the back-story of products as they’re so wellversed in the power of the first person narrative.Being a connoisseur, learning about products - goingabove and beyond - to find out the nuances of a product’sdetails, as well as being able to regale a product’stimelines and history means the quest for knowledge issometimes more important than the product.Knowledge of subject is key. More and more consumerswant to be experts in the food they eat and the placesthey go. ‘Insider tips’ take on greater importance as thisgroup want (and need) to know about special productsand destinations. For those at the top of the consumptionpyramid, conversational currency and access - somethingmoney can’t buy - take on an even greater value.
Discerning consumers also want quality at all levels - bothof life and of products and services. They have the timeand money to be discriminating and informed. Those inthe west who don’t have to worry about shelter and food,are seeking choices that help them live better, rather thanhave more. They are seeking the best from life. Not justthe best product choice. Their desire for personal enrich-ment and value connected sensations goes beyond acommodity.For these consumers luxury is a state of mind. It is not adesigner handbag. But for many, luxury (in all its variousguises and meanings) has become an expected tangiblebyproduct of consumption. For those free from obligation,luxury as such, is all about a way of life - a style of living.These consumers define value on their own terms andhave intrinsic, individually ascertained value systems. Theyhave defined their own success criteria, rather than fol-lowing the ones placed on them by society.These consumers have a sophisticated lifestyle palate,so for them the personal touch becomes increasinglyimportant. They want engaging, exclusive, emotional,personal experiences. Their desire for experience isoften greater than their desire for product. As a matterof course, they expect brands to deliver the ’end to end’experience, and to understand them as individuals. Forthis consumer group, it’s crucially important to be known,and to be understood. Just think of the lyrics from theTV sitcom Cheers: ‘where everybody knows your name’.Therefore the staff that cater to this consumer segmenthave to be charm personified - a million fold.Luxury brands are very good at selling us ‘parts’ of theluxury lifestyle: first class travel, bespoke fragrances, andatelier worthy chocolate creations. But by accumulatingall the parts, we believe they’ll somehow fit into a perfectwhole. But in reality, the whole is the beginning. It hasto be the starting point. Otherwise you’re trapped in thevicious cycle of always needing the next ‘part’. You’re star-ting with incompleteness - so it always feels like there’s apiece missing. The whole must be - and is - the sense ofself from whence the journey begins.Consumers in emerging markets though want to know‘what’s next’ and new, and spend their time franticlyacquiring tangible material milestones. The luxury expe-rience for them is derived from the possession.
But the question to ask is: do our purchases fulfill us?Well yes, sometimes they can. But not always. And theyshouldn’t - and can’t - always fill us up emotionally. Therehave to be other things in our lives that we turn to (aswell as looking within) that give us the experience of ap-preciating our true selves. The trick is to be content withwhat you have. Nothing more, nothing less. The ‘havingmore’ usually doesn’t give you that much more extra lifeenjoyment anyway. It’s through pausing and taking timefor self reflection (as we spend so much of our lives goingthrough the motions) that we remember the true joy ofliving.As Professor Arlie Russell Hochschild of The Universityof California, Berkeley wrote: “Constant busyness is themost potent opiate of the masses”. We need to build inperiods of reflection to increase our consciousness. Asspiritual leaders say, we need to remind ourselves thatwe’re spiritual beings having a human experience, and nothuman beings having a spiritual experience.The ‘always on’ 24/7 mentality, and the achievementculture of always chasing the bigger, better deal; togetherwith the pressure to maximise idle time means many ofus are becoming prisoners of efficiency. More and moreof us want to slow down and have more mindful connec-tions to all that it means to live. As defined by the slowmovement this means richer relationships with people, thepleasure of eating well, greater knowledge of our culturalheritage, and a greater connection to ourselves, and toour own movement and rhythm through life.Maybe in the future the most sought after purchases willbe the ones that create ‘moments of time’ for reflection.That a mindful presence will become the ultimate lifestyleaccessory. And that a product’s core benefit is that it putsyou in a meditative state of mind. One thing’s for certain,this constant and acquisitive nature of consumption isemotionally unsustainable.Photos visualizing this article by Kristina Dryza
Our windupOur consumption grows in the same pace as our growth.Studies shows that in hundred years we consume eight ti-mes as much per capita as today. One thing is certain: wecannot continue consuming as we do today - our globesimply cannot take such a strain. In west many has a rela-tive abundance of money which could give us more leisuretime as well as reduce our stress level - yet we choose toconsume more. How much is enough? At what point doesthe accumulation of material goods become less fulfillingand more stressful and overwhelming? Studies showsthat we are satisfied and happy with enough (see image).Our consumption in the beginning of the curve is basedon use, the higher on the curve the more our consumptionis about entertainment.After we’ve reached the “enough” level, we don’t becomehappier, the curve evens out and after a while it startsplummeting. Do we really need more and more thingswhen we know that over consumption doesn’t make ushappy? Socrates asked, a long time ago; “how shall welive?”, maybe it’s time for each and everyone to finallyanswer his question.... Image form the Encyclopedia of earthDavid Report TeamEditor-in-chief:David CarlsonContributing Editor: About David Report BulletinClaes Foxerus The David Report bulletin covers the intersection of de-Interview: sign, culture and business life with a creative and huma-Mathilda Tham nistic approach. By challenging conventional thinking we are always trying to make a difference. Four issues a year.Contributing writers:Sante Poromaa YOUR PATHFINDER INTO THE FUTUREKristina Dryza SponsorIllustration:Martin Sandström / www.sandstromdesign.se Sponsor David Report and you bring your message to an influential audience in a global lifestyle communityAddress including designers, marketers, opinion-makers, industry executives and creative entrepreneurs.David ReportStrandbadsvägen 2 David Report is a creative arena where the sponsor con-SE-239 42 Falsterbo tributes with sophisticated and highly relevant material.Swedeninfo@davidreport.com Our readers are smart and proficient. The profile of thewww.davidreport.com sponsor always has to match the profile of the visitors.Disclaimer To be able to make an impression only one sponsor are invited each quarter to participate on our web page and inEverything written in David Report is free to use, but the current David Report bulletin issue. Your informationplease say who mentioned it first. However, all and eve- will be permanently present in that issue, of course.rything is at your own risk. David Report has no responsi-bility for what, how, when etc. something in the report is For more information about sponsorship opportunities,used and/or actions surrounded. please send an e-mail at email@example.com.